What to do if you are addicted to low-carb high-fat foods like butter and lard? Where can you learn more about “harmful use” of food? And should you gradually lower carbs of just quit cold turkey?
These and other questions are answered this week by our food-addiction expert, Bitten Jonsson, RN:
Addicted to fatty foods
I’ve been overweight all my life (30 years), have lost weight and gained it back several times. I’ve been addicted to many food items, and have been eating low carb for years. However, over a year I’ve gained an addiction to fat! Butter, lard, you name it.
It is very weird that I crave butter/fatty foods since usually people crave carbs, and obviously I’m ashamed of this. I almost get a high when I eat butter. What could cause this craving and how do I get rid of it?
Thank you so much!
To be addicted is something you should not feel ashamed of. It is due to our sensitive brain chemistry and we need to learn a lot about our addicted brain in order to recover. We can easily be addicted to so many “intake things” for example sugar/flour, fat, but I explain that below, alcohol, nicotine, drugs, pills so on and “process drugs”, for example eating behavior, starving, bingeing, gambling, love, sex, work and so on.
Fat is interesting, it does not cause a flood of dopamine as sugar/flour does (as far as I know) but I suspect it causes saturation in the stomach and releases oxytocin, which has a strong calming effect. And the brain needs fat. Many of us have been denying ourselves fat for years and when we start eating it, our body loves it.
I wonder, when you overeat fat, what is it in combination with? Any carbs or just pure fat? One thing to try is to use ghee when it comes to butter, many of us are very addicted to milk protein, i.e casein which can act as an opiate in our brain. Cream, sour cream, cheese will do that to.
When recovering from “food addiction” we need many more tools than just changing the way we eat. We need to work with thoughts, feelings, urges and actions AND we need support. First I advice you to pick up the book Food Junkies by Dr. Vera Tarman and Phil Werdell and join our closed support-group on Facebook, “Sugarbomb in your brain“.
You might need to weigh and measure your food for a while and I advice you to contact a professional to get help with a proper individual meal plan just for you.
I wish you to be free of this,
Thanks for your answer. In your videos you talk about “harmful use” when people don’t have an addiction but they overeat food because of other reasons.
Where can I read more information about this? What do you recommend in those cases? Do you recommend some book or online resource?
All the best,
This is a huge topic and emotional eating, stress eating and much more is also very common with sugar addicts but usually they eat due to unpleasant feelings caused by a biochemical unbalance from eating processed foods. And some just have some kind of emotional eating.
Here is a website I suggest you start looking at to find more information and tools to start dealing with your eating: https://www.stephaniedodier.com
I wish you the best,
How to start?
If my husband and I switch from the standard North American diet to low carb and eventually keto, but very gradually… lowering carbs very gradually, will that work or do we just need to go cold turkey?
That depends. If you are sugar addicted I always suggest to go “cold turkey”. The reason for that is that any carb will trigger craving and you feel miserable most of the time fighting that.
Going cold turkey gives you intense detox symptoms for some days then it’s over. If you have harmful use i.e. answer yes to 2-3 questions on UNCOPE, gradually tapering is OK but if you answer yes to 4 or more you could be addicted.
Wishing you great health, Bitten